We are not talking about the modest 5X digital zoom cameras available today; we're aiming for monster 30...even 36X optical zoom shooters to bring the action right up to you! With cameras like these, details can be captured from a far, far distance in photo sniper mode, and all without the need for an additional add-on lens...
Nikon Coolpix P500
36X optical zoom. That's what this camera can output. 12.2 megapixel sensor will create amazing pictures provided that the light conditions are excellent. Otherwise, expect some noise on your images. The back features an articulated 3" screen that can be rotated by 90 degrees. The lack of RAW will turn off some pros but the amateur will still be satisfied with its performance. It has a good option for video recording at 240 fps. Again, image quality is good but not excellent. It all depends on the light source. The better the light is, the better your images will look.
Kodak Easyshare Max Z990
When you have a limited budget, the Kodak Easyshare may be your best selection. With a 30X optical zoom and 12 megapixels images, you can even capture images in RAW format while even supporting 1080 Full HD video recording. The 28-840mm lens has a little bit of barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom but with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 a lot of light gets in. easy to use controls makes this a good choice for beginners.
Fujifilm FinePix S4000
The Fujifilm FinePix is an affordable super zoom camera, especially when you consider the monster 30X capability. Rubber fins around the lens make it easy to hold and control. a 3" digital screen dominates the real estate of the back of the camera with a resolution that rivals more expensive counterparts. Direct access to ISO setting and continuous shooting mode makes controlling the camera really easy. Macro mode is really amazing, providing images crystal clear and with lots of detail. 14 megapixels will get the job done but the sensor adds a good deal of artifacts and blotchiness when you push the camera towards its limit.
Other mega zoom contenders: